V 2009, the series premiere! Our review!

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When I heard that the old 1983 sci-fi miniseries, V, was being rebooted, I must admit that I was a little disappointed. When we take a series that was a great story and throw a ton of new-millennium special effects, usually the story gets lost in the spectacle.

However – and please expect spoilers – tonight’s premiere of V actually managed to provide breathtaking special effects alongside a very solid storyline.

The thing about V is, if you’re my age (30-mumble mumble mumble), you’ll remember vague details about the original series. There’s the rat-eating stuff, the freaky reptilian alien baby, and the water-stealing endgame. But the details are hazy to say the least. I checked with other V veterans, and they tend to agree on this.

That’s a good starting point for the re-imagining of V. It’s almost a new start for us. I mean, did you know that “V” stands for “Visitor”?

The pilot episode establishes the story comprehensively. We meet the main characters on the morning the aliens choose to visit Earth. The scene where the spacecraft hover over the major cities of the world is amazing – using the entire base of each craft to beam a message to the citizens below was a stroke of genius. And yes, we’re universally agreed that Morena Baccarin may be one of the hottest aliens in science fiction history.

Anyway, here’s a quickie run-down of the main characters:

  • Erica Evans – an amazingly hot FBI MILF lady who’s suspicious of the aliens, and struggling to contain her son’s obsession with the visitors.
  • Tyler Evans – hormonal teenage son to Erica, he becomes an ambassador for the visitors, mostly to get into the pants of a hot blonde “V” (who played Supergirl in Smallville)
  • Chad Decker – an ambitious reporter who sacrifices his integrity by giving the visitors free publicity and interviews in return for furthering his career.
  • Father Jack Landry – a priest who is naturally suspicious of the visitors and worried about their effect on church attendance (i.e. the church pews are full since the aliens arrived).
  • Morris Chestnut – aha! A rebellious alien who disagrees with their plans to harvest the Earth and steal the planet’s natural resources. He sides with the resistance, but is in love with an Earth girl.

First off, I’m not entirely sure that broadcasting their message to entire cities was the safest and most effective way for an alien race to make first contact. Perhaps a discreet word with the major parliaments in the first instance?

However, the visitors quickly ingratiate themselves with the planet by offering their advanced knowledge in return for access to water. They set up various propaganda schemes to gain favour with their hosts, including “Peace Ambassadors” – gullible kids from Earth who sell the positive aspects of the visitors to their friends and families.

But down on Earth, there’s a counter-movement of humans who despise the aliens and seem to know much more about them than the “visitor” propaganda machine would like. These ‘resistance’ members claim that the visitors have been on Earth for many years, infiltrating society and spreading their influence and that their sudden decision to reveal themselves is the final part of their scheme to eradicate the human race.

Aside from some very special sci-fi set pieces, this reboot of “V” tackles religious themes and broader societal issues. I expect to see mother and son pitted against each other as one becomes closer to the aliens while the other joins the resistance against them. When we came out of the premiere, there was a lot of discussion around “what would an alien invasion mean for religion?” and “what are the consequences of discovering intelligent life in the universe?” And that might be the mark of a good show – making the viewer walk away asking questions.

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5 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I’ve just finished watching the Pilot to V and although I think it holds a lot of promise, I found the jumping back and forth timeframes irritating and felt it obscured the otherwise interesting storyline.  That said, unlike others who followed the original V series, I am happy for the storyline to be adapted and roles to be changed.  After all if I wanted to see exactly the same story, I would just revisit the original series.  I just hope that however they develop the story, it does not get bogged down or diverge into the ridiculous as some promising and recent sci-fi series have done e.g. 4400 which started out well then became boring.  So I’ll be following this series for as long as it remains interesting and innovative in its special effects.

  2. Herb

    I love the old series and my exceptations weren’t  too high for this one.. But I found myself liking it more than I thought I would..

    But the pacing have to be mentioned.. I feel that they would’ve done much better with a double episode for the pilot, allowing for a slower pacing of the initial contact.. And getting to know the characters a bit more.. As it were now I felt that they rushed into the story too fast.. not good at all in my oppinion.

    But overall I think it has potential.. We’ll just have to see.

  3. Linux Lord

    I loved the almost “swastika” that was on the ships and uniforms in the original series but don’t recall any memorable symbols in this incarnation!

  4. Anonymous

    I believe this show is so much better than the original.  Some may say that it moved a little fast, however I feel the pace is just right.  It is better to have the characters introduced all at once instead of in increments.  After all, we already know what to expect; there’s people who is against them, there are V’s that’s working with the resistance, and Anna’s goal is to gain the human’s trust so that she can destroy us.  To me they were getting the obvious out of the way to get to the meat of the story.  I also like how they use today’s situations to show how it could be possible that we would even look to them to solve all of our problems; i.e. religion, economy, iraq war, flu vaccine, sickness and disease. After all, in the fourth episode, Anna even appears to her own kind as a god.  Wow, this is one of those shows that make you think about things you don’t normally think about and things you always think about.

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